By Resolute, via Wikimedia Commons
Most people who watched this game will probably tell you that the Devils were the better team even though they lost in overtime. That statement was true for most of the game where the Devils had a 19-14 advantage in scoring chances….and then overtime happened. The Kings were a bit lackluster overall but they just took the game over during overtime and now have themselves a 2-0 series lead. This definitely wasn’t LA’s best performance and they did get lucky a few times tonight, but that’s what generally happens in the playoffs. Sometimes you need to have a few bounces go your way and that includes a team as good as the Kings.
Game 2 Scoring Chances
Los Angeles’ scoring chances are in grey, New Jersey’s are in maroon
The Devils controlled about half of this game and were the better team at even strength during regulation,but they just couldn’t finish their chances. It happens and unfortunately for them, it’s happening at the worst time. I actually thought the first and third periods were some of the best hockey that the Devils have played in the last two rounds. It’s not easy to outchance the Kings and it’s even more difficult to hold them to only three total chances in a period. Even though they are in the 2-0 hole right now, the Devils could have some life. They need to burn the tape of the OT period ASAP, though.
Also, there were 42 scoring chances and only three goals…damn fine performance by both goalies.
Kings Individual Scoring Chances
Best EV Forward: Jeff Carter +4
Worst EV Forward: Brad Richardson -3
Best EV Defenseman: Drew Doughty +5
Worst EV Defenseman: Slava Voynov -2
After getting the tough draws for Game 1, Jeff Carter and his line got a much easier workload in Game 2 and the results speak for themselves. Carter’s fantastic shift that led to the OT winning goal was a fitting ending as he and Mike Richards were the Kings’ best forwards at producing scoring chances. Although, the head-to-head report (scroll down) reveals that this line created most of their chances against the Devils’ fourth line while being beaten by their better lines. That doesn’t blemish their performance at all but it does reveal why they were so much better offensively compared to Game 1.
The tough draws that they didn’t take went to Anze Kopitar’s line instead and those three still managed to keep their heads above water regardless. They were also being used against the Devils’ top-six so they weren’t rolling over soft competition. That honor would go to Colin Fraser and Brad Richardson who bled chances against whenever they were used. These two have been playing well with sheltered minutes but they were exposed more than a few times in this game. Fraser somehow spent over 4 minutes of his ice time against Kovalchuk.
What more can be said about Drew Doughty? He was the Kings best player for the second game in a row and contributed to more than half of their scoring chances at even strength. Doughty was also able to outperform his partner, Rob Scuderi, in both areas. This was not his best game defensively but his performance at the other end almost makes up for it, seeing how he was on ice for almost twice as many chanes as he gave up.
The rest of the Kings defense corps weren’t as impressive. Voynov had another rough game and Willie Mitchell was struggling to contain the Devils’ third line. Matt Greene also broke even against mostly secondary competition.
Devils Individual Scoring Chances
Best EV Forward: Adam Henrique +4
Worst EV Forward: Ryan Carter -5
Best EV Defenseman: Anton Volchenkov +3
Worst EV Defenseman: Bryce Salvador -4
You’re going to hear a lot of people talk about the Devils fourth line for the next couple of days and they had two very good shifts. One of them just happened to lead to a goal. Something else that is worth pointing out is that Carter, Gionta and Bernier were also on ice for both Los Angeles goals and were awful defensively. They are known for playing the “energy role” on the Devils but it appears that they helped the Kings a lot more than they did their own team. People are more likely to remember the big, “clutch” before anything else, though. For the Devils sake, I hope Pete DeBoer sees past that.
On that subject, DeBoer decided to start off with the same lines and matchups as Game 1, which didn’t work out at all so he elected to change things up after the second period. The Zajac line was much better but they were still giving up more scoring chances than they were producing, even after Kovalchuk was moved there. Adam Henrique was the guy who was making things work for the Devils as he was controlling the majority of the scoring chances no matter who his linemates were. Both him and Elias could make a nice combination and I would be on the lookout for both next game.
The first line is having their issues but defense appears to be a much bigger problem for the Devils than their forwards right now. Zidlicky and Salvador started the game off as the shutdown pair but they didn’t fare much better than they did the last game and were switched out in favor of Mark Fayne and Andy Greene. That didn’t work out so well either. They were creating offense but also gave back everything at the other end. Anton Volchenkov came out smelling like a rose but he was mostly being used against LA’s third line.
Head-to-Head at Five-on-Five
The Richards line crushed the Devils’ fourth line but didn’t do much against their stronger units. Same thing goes for the Greene/Martinez defense pairing. The Devils first line and third defense pairing had something similar going on as most of their wins came against the Stoll line. The Devils need more of their players to win the battles against Kopitar and Doughty but that’s easier said than done.
Time and Game State Report
|LAK||1||12:12||Doughty – GOAL||7||8||22||28||32||74||6||11||20||23||29||30||5v5|
|CUP||3||17:01||Carter – GOAL||7||8||14||15||24||32||2||6||11||18||20||30||5v5|
Note: OT chances are logged but not in script due to NHL.com error.
A scoring chance is defined as an unblocked shot from a “dangerous scoring area” which is roughly defined as the “home plate” area in front of the net between the faceoff circles. Chances were tracked using Vic Ferrari’s time on ice scripts. Many thanks to him for creating these scripts and making this entire project possible.